Alexander Dugin is a former advisor to Vladimir Putin. Sometimes known as “Putin’s Brain”, Dugin is an Eastern Orthodox Christian whose daughter Daria was recently assassinated allegedly by a Ukrainian Azov in an apparent attempt to kill him.
In the documentary The Wolf in the Moonlight, Dugin eerily pronounced that the purpose of life is death. “One person can not kill another,” says Dugin. “Only God can kill. Either God kills a person or He allows a person to be killed according to His will.” This extreme view of God’s sovereignty seems reminiscent of hyper-Calvinism albeit with an eschatological twist. Russian Orthodox clergy have further stated they believe that
Russia is the New Testament Israel.
Dugin sees the ongoing conflict between Russia and NATO as the parable of the sheep and goats being played out in real-time. Mat 25:31-46 Hence he claims he would not hesitate to push the nuclear launch button and destroy all of mankind should Russia face a genuine existential threat. In the words of both Dugin and Putin, there is absolutely no point in the existence of life on Earth without Russia. In Dugin’s mind, a war between Russia and NATO while admittedly unwinnable for either side
is nevertheless inevitable.
Dugin says it will be a sovereign act of God and a final separation between the sheep and goats in which case,
Russians will go to heaven as martyrs. All NATO members will go to hell. – Dugin’s guideline: The Curse of the West and the Salvation of Russia –
Meanwhile, Poland and Belarus are currently facing off with the Wagner group whom many in the West thought was going to overthrow Vladimir Putin. The Russians suspect Poland of readying itself to invade Belarus. Poland suspects Russia is going to use Wagner to invade Poland and or Western Ukraine. Tensions between Russia and the US are growing in Syria. Israel is on the verge of war with Iran by proxy via Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestinian territories. China has warned the US of a severe military response should they violate any of “China’s rights” in the Asia Pacific. That means Taiwan. While I am not making a prophetic declaration, you’d have to have your head in the sand not to see the potential for world war looming on the horizon.
I could go on about the absurdity of the Jewish Zionist Ukrainian President who openly supports Nazis in a fight against the very people who liberated the Jews in WWII. But then it’s hard to argue with those already programmed by television news.
Suffice it to say we are at high risk of global conflict not seen since WWII. Anyone who has served in a combat arms unit knows the importance of counting the cost and training for any possible scenario. “If this then this.” Given that becoming a Christian amounts to volunteering for war albeit a spiritual one we must similarly prepare our hearts and minds, fill our lamps with oil and trim them. Now that the current administration has begun to mobilize ready and inactive reserves and the children of friends are joining the military, I think it behooves us all to ask the question,
Is there any circumstance where the willful taking of human life is justified?
Perhaps more important for the days ahead; is there a solid scripturally based argument that supports a Christ follower’s use of deadly force against another image bearer, let’s say a Russian soldier? The more I search the scriptures, the more I am forced to conclude that the answer is an absolute
While I can find a Phil 4:8 reason to honor almost anyone, I’m not a follower of any personality or political entity. Why do you ask? Because I believe geopolitics always has been and always will be the problem, never the solution. Jesus warned us about the leaven of Herod, the Pharisees, and Sadducees in Mathew 16 and Mark 8. Both groups represented opposing denominations as well as political factions.
My geopolitical view mirrors that of Peter.
That’s not to say I will simply lie down and allow someone to kill me or someone I love without a fight. If that’goal I’m nowhere even close to it. It just means I will not engage in the intentional, premeditated, and or preemptive taking of a life. Does that increase my chances of dying?
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. Psalm 11:5
Allegedly biblical pro-violence arguments commonly begin with typological references to the Old Testament e.g. David and Goliath. “We can’t back down! Imagine what would have happened if David backed down?” First of all, David rejected the standard armor and tools of battle in favor of a shepherd’s sling and the Lord’s protection. The argument typically extended to contemporary ones like “What if we hadn’t killed Sadam Hussein?”… Those who advocate violence often forget that Old Testament battles were orchestrated by the hand of God’s judgment not the pragmatism of man. See Isaiah 10 They conveniently ignore the original consequences imposed by God for man’s willful shedding of blood.
And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. Genesis 9:5-6
I’ve had multiple discussions with brothers in Christ who justify the use of deadly force in defense of life. Perhaps you see differently but as far as I can tell all premeditated deadly force arguments collapse in light of scripture. Granted immediate self-defense with the least amount of force seems justified, but most of my conservative patriotic Christian brethren extend their definition of self-defense to the defense of “our way of life”. That includes preemptively attacking any perceived threat to it. Hence many will support attacking Russia if and when that day ever comes based upon their underlying presuppositions that will always be supported by media narratives.
It’s not that I am against categorization or topological comparisons of scripture that exact a deeper meaning. However, validity is determined by coherent consistency throughout all of the scripture. An argument must not contradict the character and nature of the God who does not change Malachi 3:6 in order to align scripture with the independent emotional responses of man. Hence the “But what if David hadn’t killed Goliath?” argument falls apart in the face of Genesis 9:5-6 which is consistently supported through to the end of the story.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword”. Mathew 26:52
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Revelation 13:10
Another common pro-violence argument is that before they went to Gethsemene Jesus told the disciples to buy a sword. As it turned out they had two. Jesus said “it is enough”. Luke 22:35-38 Later Peter cuts off Malchus’s ear. A common false assertion is that Jesus exclaimed “Not now!” implying that he would have us fight later when in fact He cried,
“No more of this!” Luke 22:49-51
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Mathew 26:52-54
Later Jesus seals the deal before Pontius Pilot.
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36
He went on to be beaten beyond recognition and nailed to a cross while praying
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34
Pro-violence arguments are already incoherent and in violation of the law of non-contradiction unless you can find at least one instance of Jesus or any Apostle advocating or resorting to violence. I can not. Rather they were whipped, beaten, and imprisoned for preaching but kept preaching anyway. Acts 14 As for the defense of one’s socioeconomic status or way of life, Jesus provided clear instructions.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, and let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Mat 5:38-44
“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.” Mat 10:23
While I often use Revelations 12:10 in response to Neo-Marxism and Critical Race Theory, it applies to any group conflict rooted in a quest for or the preservation of rights or power.
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God”
Accuse is “Kategoro” from which the English word category is derived. Categories like black, white, male, female, good country, bad country, good guys, and enemies.
I follow Jesus,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Gal 3:28-29
By extension, there is neither Russian nor American, Shia, nor Jew. The only valid categories for believers are “in Christ” and
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 2 Cor 5:14-16
John goes on in Revelation 12 to further illustrate the nature of our battle against the accuser.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Rev 12:11-12
I am always amazed at how many people redact for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Paul goes on to articulate the primary combat function assigned to believers and the church as a whole. Namely “the ministry of reconciliation”. I want to be reconciled to my neighbor and have him be reconciled to God.
What hope is there if I shoot him?
As for governments and authorities Romans 13 exhorts us to submit to them.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7
Once again the argument is “but what about Adolf Hitler?” “Most Germans especially Christian Germans did not oppose him and look at what happened. What if the Jews fought him at the beginning?” The underlying pro-violence presupposition is that submission to authority only applies when that authority does what is good. Of course, this verse doesn’t say that. People claim it is implied. Then they define “good”. Yet the scripture says, For there is no authority except God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Maybe Alexander Dugin has a point when he claims “Only God can kill.”
Jesus and Paul obeyed the laws of the land when they opposed authority by wielding the sword of the spirit (not an iron one). They spoke gospel truth to power. A contemporary application is exhorting pregnant women to keep their babies outside an abortion clinic or peacefully blocking an entrance. Blowing up clinics and shooting Molech serving staff is not. Neither Jesus nor Paul ever attacked or endorsed an attack with a scabbard let alone an AR-15. Rather they lived by the sword of the spirit and were eventually killed by a sword.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:13-17
Nero began persecuting Christians in 64 CE after he blamed them for the fire that destroyed much of Rome. He fed them to lions and mounted them on lampposts, burning them alive to light Roman gardens and streets. Some believers advocated taking up arms. Paul opposed them. This is the historical context in which 1 Peter was written.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:6-9
I’ve written at length about experiences on the mission field from being surrounded by spear-wielding Shuar tribesmen to staring down the barrels of M16s, times when we were certain of our imminent demise and were at peace that passes understanding. The Lord was delivered us every time.
He delivers me from my enemies;
Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man. Psalm 18:48
That deliverance might look like ours. It might look like Stephen’s in Acts 7.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him…Acts 7:54-58
While I hope this blog ends up in the annals of irrelevancy. I sense that it will become increasingly relevant in the coming years. Alexander Dugin claims he is willing to die for his ideas. What am I willing to die for? Do I love God enough to risk dying for Him – for loving a neighbor who may very well want to kill me? Do I have the intestinal fortitude to be cut and set apart, to seek to understand those whom my government aims to destroy even if means being hated and rejected here at home? Do I have the courage to pray for those who one day may be compelled by their government to persecute and kill me? Can I bless those who despitefully use me? These are the questions that underpin spiritual prepping.
We can not kill our enemies and follow Jesus.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:1-2
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5